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How Long for Grass Seed to Germinate

5 min read

Looking for instant gratification? Learn how long it takes for grass seed to germinate and what may cause it not to grow.

At Jonathan Green, lush green lawns are our business. We have been perfecting the art of green lawns since 1881 and have continued this tradition for six generations. We employ the latest scientific technology and research to ensure that we have the best products on the market, so you end up with a strong, healthy, dark-green lawn.

About Seed Germination

Most grass seed packages include three, four, five or more different turf grass cultivars from different areas of the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. and Canada.  They are checked for germination and purity and very often double-checked by governmental agencies in states where they are sold.

The germination time for grass seed ranges from 5 to 30 days depending on the variety you plant. It can be even longer than this in cooler temperatures.

At Jonathan Green, we mix elite varieties of Kentucky Bluegrass seed as well as tall fescue and perennial ryegrass to create our Black Beauty® Ultra Grass Seed. The expected germination time for this mixture is about 14 days.

We take every precaution to ensure that our Black Beauty® seed will germinate. However, not all seeds will sprout at the same time. If you’ve waited the expected time and there are still no signs of life, the culprit may be the lack of soil moisture or soil temperature that is too cool or too warm.

A more common problem is the depth of planting. Grass seed needs to be planted only ¼ inch deep and pressed into the loosened soil. If the grass seed has been planted much deeper or covered with an inch or two of fresh soil, it has been planted too deep and will not germinate.

On rare occasions, the age of the seed is a problem.  To test if your grass seed will germinate, wet a paper towel or toilet tissue and put it in a cup. Spread a small amount of seed on the wet paper and cover the cup with a plastic bag.  This creates a little greenhouse environment.  If the seeds are good, you will see a small shoot emerge that will be either white or light green in color

Does Age Affect Grass Seed Germination?

If stored in a cool, dry place, grass seed can last for two to three years, but you may not get the same results as you would when planting fresh seed. As the seed ages, the percentage of seeds that will be able to germinate diminishes, forcing you to use more seed than normal to get adequate coverage.

The Importance of Temperature in Grass Seed Germination

Grass seed will germinate when soil temperatures reach a consistent 55 degrees and air temperatures reach 60 plus degrees. If the temperatures are outside of this range, the seed may not germinate or will take longer to germinate.

The Importance of Water in Grass Seed Germination

If there is too little moisture in the soil, your seeds will dry out.  Too much water will also hinder germination and prevent sprouts from getting the oxygen they need to survive.  Excessive spring rains can delay germination and, while watering newly planted grass seed is good for growth, overwatering will not make it grow any faster.

A newly seeded lawn should be watered at least every other day. Water deeply, at least 30 minutes in each area, to supply at least a half inch of water one inch down into the soil. This encourages the development of deep roots that help the new grass to become more drought tolerant.

Once the new grass has reached at least three inches tall, you can begin mowing, but continue watering at least two times a week unless it rains.  To determine the level of moisture in your soil, push a screwdriver into the ground as far as it will go.  Then twist the screwdriver in a circle to create a hole large enough to stick your finger in.  If the soil is moist to the touch, you’re in good shape.  If the soil is powdery and dry, keep watering.

Visit Jonathan Green online, or visit your nearest independent retailer for reliable information about how long it takes grass seed to germinate and other advice that can help you achieve great results with your lawn.

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